US Foreign Policy

US-Korea Alliance Diplomacy in the Shadow of COVID-19

COVID-19 has disrupted or complicated already contentious cost-sharing talks between Washington and Seoul in more ways than one.
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38 North
By Clint Work Author

Originally published in The Diplomat.

COVID-19 is a truly transnational threat presenting severe problems for the global community. It opportunistically exploits widely varying levels of national political will and public trust, not to mention the disparities and alarming inadequacies within the public health infrastructure of the developing and developed world alike. There is nothing like a pandemic to rip away the veil and reveal enormous problems laying just beneath the surface.

The now global pandemic exacerbates pre-existing issues, whether the ongoing political and propaganda war between the United States and China or, on a less pronounced level, the significant cost-sharing disagreement between Washington and Seoul. Despite the enormous disruption and growing concern caused by COVID-19, the allies have made little progress toward a negotiated settlement of the Special Measures Agreement (SMA). The Trump administration appears perfectly willing to allow the long simmering disagreement to spill over into an even more significant break.

Read the full Op-Ed in The Diplomat.

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